Photo: Woman at home with dog

Causes of balance problems

Good balance needs many different parts of your body to work together effectively.

It may be helpful to think of these different parts of balance being grouped into:

  • input
  • processing
  • output

MS can affect all three parts of the balance system. Information your brain receives and the replies it sends out can be late, incomplete or misleading. The messages being passed inside your brain can also be disrupted, which affects the way it processes balance information.

The three parts of the balance system

Other causes of balance problems

It may not be your MS

There are other common causes of balance problems that can affect anyone, whether or not they have MS. These include:

  • Inner ear infections - which can cause vertigo and nausea
  • Positional vertigo - a spinning sensation caused by particular head movements
  • Side effects of medication

All of these causes are treatable. However, the way that they’re managed differs, so you would need to know what’s causing your balance problems before they can be treated. So if you notice changes in your balance, speak to your GP – it’s important to have any symptoms properly investigated.